Having created my blog, uploading a couple of photos and playing around with the layout and colour scheme it is now time to get down and think about what I am really supposed to be doing. I essentially have two tasks;
1. Create an online presence for the Learning Centre and develop support mechanisms for our distant students.
2. Develop on-line short courses.
I will address the issues in no.1 first.
- What is Learning Support at a distance? It could be: synchronous tutorials with Elluminate, phone calls, email, voice message boards, text message boards, net meetings, video conferencing, CD Roms, an input into Blackboard courses and a Learning Centre website which is a repository of resources such as web sites, PDF notes, youtube videos…what else could it be?
- What sort of students are they? – In open-entry certificates taught on-line like Certificate in Health or Certificate in Animal Care what proportion are “re-entry” students and Foundation Learners? (i.e., “second- chance” learners with lots of gaps in their knowledge and possibly low literacy and numeracy skills). How digitally literate are they?
- What technology barriers will there be at the student end?
- What is the student’s perception of being full-time – What do they think they should be getting for their money? How much access to teachers? How many printed notes and workbooks if any?
- David in his Blog http://massage-online.blogspot.com discusses the appropriateness of on-line delivery for kineasthetic learners and explores this more fully in wikieducator. I am going to try to expand on this and explore the specific needs of Foundation Learners and the minimum basic elements that should be found in the design of on-line or flexibly delivered courses. Do our courses here at Otago Polytechnic measure up? How can we improve them?
2. Develop on-line short courses
- I’ve created the outline of a Peer tutor training course on wikieducator
- This course will link to other short courses on Skills for Tertiary Learners (Who will be enrolling in these short courses?)
Both these tasks will require many hours of searching the internet for photo’s, video’s, web sites etc. Understanding all the licensing of the multimedia used and attributing authorship etc. Also, writing content and developing activities.
Final comment: I think Otago Polytechnic has about two hundred distant students which are all entitled to the same level of learning support as our on-campus students.